Thursday, October 7, 2010

Rapid Response No-Nos

One of the biggest questions that arises in a political campaign is whether or not and how to respond to accusations. John Kerry was famously "Switft Boated" because he did not respond to allegations stemming from the three purple hearts he was awarded in Vietnam. Then-senator Obama's Philadelphia speech addressing race in America was considered a brilliant response to the Jeremiah Wright-themed attacks that Team Clinton had been throwing around.

Generally, it seems that as an attack is more squirrelly and weird, and doesn't quite click with the general public, it's probably best to ignore it. My case in point?: WitchDonnell.

The 1999 video of Christine O'Donnell isn't terribly damaging. It's weird and kind of off-putting, but not so bad by itself. Her ad in response to the allegation that, I gather from her response, ran 'she's a witch', in which she flatly denies the witch thing elevates the 'controversy' to a new level. Not only does it grant credence to the idea that maybe she really is a witch and is playing some quick defense, but there's nothing quite as un-senatorial as putting up an ad on TV that starts out with "I'm a Witch". Beyond that, in the youtube era, she looks a lot stupider than she really needs to because there are people with computers and an hour of time on their hands who just enjoy making people look stupid.

Of course, no one really cares about these little things except for political junkies. That is, until you put up an ad on tv that just begs people to search youtube for "O'Donnell Witch", which won't end well for her.

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